World Food day 2020
A growing global population and the increasing demand on global food systems is only one challenge that we collectively face, one which must be solved without the exploitation of what remains of our planet’s limited resources. The Covid-19 pandemic has also highlighted the vulnerability of our existing systems to unexpected occurrences.
In order to build back better and develop more resilient and sustainable global food supply chains, technological innovation must sit at the heart of our solutions and be applied not just in developed countries, but also introduced to rural areas and smallholder farmers across the world.
A fully transformed food system would see the implementation and use of technology such as driverless tractors, sensors, drones and satellite imagery to increase yields on land we already plough, to enable farmers to serve as digital managers, and to promote the sustainable and specific use of resources such as fertilizers according to real-time data. The digitalization of agriculture will also increase the sector’s attractiveness for a new generation of farmers – those who want to study computer science alongside agronomy.
At OCP we are already playing our part in this transformation with a focus on deploying and developing technology to unlock Africa’s agricultural potential. For example, in Morocco we have launched a pilot for a ‘smart blender’, which uses advanced technology to improve the efficiency and precision of
the fertilizer customization process. This is critical not only to help improve yields, but also to protect the environment – as applying the right fertilizer at the right rate, time and place can prevent the waste of a valuable resource and any accidental environmental pollution.
We have also launched Udongo, an agritech platform which provides farmers across Africa with access to products, services, educational content on good agricultural practices, and market and management tools, all of which will help them build their capacity. Our Al Moutmir initiative also makes key scientific and technological resources available to farmers, such as SoilOptix, a gamma ray-based technology which provides high definition composition maps (https://www.ocpgroup.ma/innovation).
In addition to helping to implement existing technology, at OCP we are an incubator for the technology of the future. Our university, the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) provides the resources and tools for ideas to be tested and developed and our IMPULSE accelerator helps agritech and biotech entrepreneurs get to market. Our business partnership with IBM is focused on the acceleration of the digital transformation of the industry (http://bit.ly/EducOCP).
Nonetheless, there is always more to be done. We will continue to do all we can to bring new ideas to life and to give access to those who need it most but transforming our global food systems will require the collaboration and input of producers, consumers, businesses and governments from across the world.